While taking the train from Fairfield to Grand Central Station, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind where most of the people were going. At every stop more and more people would come on decorating the train cars in an array of colors. Girls with cowboy hats and bright pink pants, boys with open shirts and glitter in their hair and mothers and fathers accompanying their children and dressing in matching outfits. The fact that an artist’s influence can be so apparent that every person who attends their show feels the desire to show up in their most outlandish, boldest uniform shows how unifying a night with Harry Styles is meant to be.
This December will be two years since the release of his sophomore album, “Fine Line” and Harry Styles made this rescheduled tour unforgettable for the fans who’ve been waiting for quite a while for his return to stage. Sunday night was the first of two sold-out shows Styles is playing at Madison Square Garden. Some aspects of the night were different than if you attended his last tour–the presence of masks, showing vaccination status, etc. But besides these new realities of life, the night was a transportation back in time. Looking out at the entirety of Madison Square Garden with every seat being filled after the past 18 months of thinking it would never be possible again, was a feeling like no other.
Harry Styles performing live is as remarkable and captivating as a human being can be. Coming out in black trousers, suit jacket with feather boa arms, and no shirt he began the evening on a mesmerizing note that continued throughout the entire show. Styles ascended center-stage with a single spotlight and launched into the album’s first track, “Golden” with a renewed vigor that can only come after a year and a half without shows. Harry Styles was ecstatic to say the least. He has never been brighter, never sounded better, and never seemed more in love with what he was doing than he did that night. There was no “phoning it in,” no tiredness in his movements, no sense of it “getting old” even this many shows in. When you watch Harry Styles dance to his songs with an enthusiasm you have definitely never seen before, you can’t help but have one of the best nights of your life.
With his last tour, Styles had only had one album with ten songs out on his own which resulted in a full setlist of those tracks in addition to three songs from his One Direction days, a song entitled “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart” that he wrote and gave to Ariana Grande back in 2014, and a cover of Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.” This time around, the night was filled with all of his own songs–excluding a remix version of “What Makes You Beautiful” which he had redone to the point where it sounds like it could perfectly belong on “Fine Line.”
Styles performed every song from “Fine Line,” including the feel-good anthem “Treat People With Kindness” and the ethereal heartbreak of “Cherry.” He also performed his rock classic, “Kiwi,” from his debut album which made the floors of Madison Square Garden legitimately shake. What Harry Styles possesses more than anything else is the ability to make you unable to look away from him at any point. He is as captivating as can be and it makes you not want to miss a moment of what he could do.
The album’s title track and final track “Fine Line” closed out the show (before Styles came back out for an encore of three songs) and it was without a doubt the best moment live. Every night, before he performs “Fine Line,” Styles gives a speech always with the same theme: gratitude. He thanked every person who made these shows happen from the crew you don’t see to every audience member who got vaccinated to be there, and ended by saying that doing these shows is the “honor of his life.” The song “Fine Line” transcends everything when you listen to it at any time, but hearing it live was a different feat altogether. The song slowly picks up as Styles details the whirlwind emotions that come with being alive until he switches from “We’ll be a fine line” to “We’ll be alright” and the night breaks into pure elation.
In a world where live music was an imperative part of life which then became an impossible part of life, Harry Styles’ Love on Tour was the perfect encapsulation of the way that a night of music can bring people together. From his impossible charm to his Mick Jagger strutting, Harry Styles continues to remind everyone who sees him that he is one of the best.
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